It may seem like a challenge but it can be done.
Parenting – perhaps one of the scariest words in the English language – doesn’t have to be an exercise in anxiety. You can raise your kids and raise them well, in spite of the challenges that may be set in front of you. Like anything, it’s all about knowing how to navigate this world of motherhood and meltdowns.
Keeping your sanity in the face of insanity, your dignity in the midst of indignities (think toilet training and clean-up – need I say more?) and a general positive attitude is possible. Because at the end of the day, you’re the parent and, ergo, you’re the boss.
On that note, please consider this advice the next time you’re about to throw yourself on the mercy of the laundry pile in an effort to get a break, however brief.
How to Parent in 5 Easy Steps
1) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – Do you really need to know everything, Mom and Dad? For some strange reason, we as parents get some kind of sick pleasure by extracting (often by force or threats) the most minute of details from our kids. Who were you with? What exactly did you do? How much is this going to cost me? These are just some of the questions that are sure to provide you with answers that, let’s be honest, you’d rather not have heard. Isn’t it better if some things are just left unknown? Ignorance is bliss, a wise man once said. He was clearly a dad. And on that note, how about leaving things unsaid as well? You don’t owe your kids an explanation for every decision or action that you’ve made or done. During this age of entitlement in which our kids live, how about a throwback to old-school parenting? Who knows? You could start a trend. I vote for going back to the days where parents can answer their kids’ questions with the all-purpose response: “because I said so.” There’s strength in this simplicity.
2) Not Foe, Not Friend – You are not your child’s friend. You shouldn’t try to be your child’s friend. You’re their parent, end of story. There seems to be a growing trend that parents and kids should form friendships and as such, confide in each other like BFFs. This is particularly popular amongst parents of pre-adolescent and teenage kids. Wrong. You child doesn’t really want to tell you everything they would tell their real friends, and, trust me, you don’t want to know everything they’re up to, either. The mystique of parenthood should stay that way; you should continue your reign (and yes, I did use a monarchist analogy) over your kingdom and your “subjects” should provide you with the proper reverence and respect that you deserve. End of story.
3) Grow a Thick Skin – If you’re a new parent, you’d better toughen up. If you’re a seasoned and weary mom or dad, you know that parenting kids of all ages requires resilience. Let’s face it: you’re going to be scorned, ignored, mocked and sometimes ridiculed by those you love the most – your kids. Sad but true. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Unfortunately life is not fair (as we tell our kids) so best to take a deep breath, grow a thick skin, and refer to suggestion #2.
4) Forget About It – The sun will come out tomorrow so forget about the fact that your child just ate a whole bag of marshmallows and will be throwing up most of the evening. Also forget about the fact that you were too tired or busy to do the laundry for one or two days and now every room in your house looks like a scene from Hoarders. As a matter of fact, self-induced temporary – or permanent – amnesia as it relates to your kids is probably a good tactic to employ on a regular basis. It will keep you sane.
5) Laugh – If all else fails, laugh. After all, how bad is it, really? In the heat of the moment, we may think that the meltdown that we’re experiencing is as bad as it can get, but really, it isn’t. It could be worse. It can always be worse, so count your blessings and look for the humour amongst the insanity. It’s all any of us can really do.
I follow my own advice and then some: read more about my parenting strategies here.
Now here are some parents who have the right idea!
VIDEO: Parent Rap
Image courtesy of http://www.simpsoncrazy.com